In this fast growing world where tech companies are trying to make their own space by introducing something innovative and game-changing, Nissan is taking a different way and trying to “decode” your thinking so hands-on driving is more fun, some people might joke about it but this automobile manufacturing company made it possible. The Japanese company will release and test its “brain-to-vehicle” technology at next week in the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The “brain-to-vehicle” system requires a driver to wear a skullcap that measures brain-wave activity and transmits its readings to steering, acceleration and braking systems that can start responding before the driver initiates the action, these waves will not only help the driver to focus but also follow rules and regulations.
Lucian Gheorghe, a senior innovation researcher at Nissan overseeing the project mentioned that “The driver can still turn the wheel or hits the gas pedal, but the car anticipates those movements and begins the action in less than 0.5 seconds and the earlier response should be imperceptible to drivers.” he added that “We imagine a future where manual driving is still a value of society, driving pleasure is something as humans we should not lose. You are feeling either that you are a better driver or the car is more sporty and more responsive. There are many ways you can contribute to society — I chose this one, it’s not about reading thoughts, but before you move your body, we know you will move. Even in autonomous driving, we are not building boxes in which you are sleeping, we are building a positive-experience delivering vehicle.” Gheorghe is the one who personally uses the system for 15 minutes a day while commuting to work.
Carmakers are working really hard on ways to keep driving relevant as newcomers such as Alphabet’s Waymo and Apple to upend the industry with fully autonomous technologies. According to the IHS Markit, they are expecting 21 million autonomous vehicles to be sold annually by 2035, which are equivalent to about a quarter of all current vehicle sales. Many car manufacturers, including Toyota and BMW, mentioned that they won’t give full control to computers and plan to continue building cars with distinct driving characteristics because this might be riskful for some drivers.
Yokohama-based company Nissan, maker of the Leaf electric vehicle is planning to launch fully autonomous cars till 2022. Besides predicting drivers’ movements, the skullcap also could detect their preferences and discomfort when the vehicle is in autonomous mode, prompting systems to adjust accordingly. Till today there are drivers of autonomous vehicles still will be able to flip a switch and take manual control of the car. That’s where Nissan’s brain-to-vehicle system comes into play.
Nissan will soon demonstrate the technology at CES using its IMx electric concept car, which according to Gheorghe is “brain-connectivity ready.” People from the audience will simulate driving on a highway for a few minutes, and the car should make adjustments with real time. Automobile manufacturers have flocked to the event in recent years to demonstrate their most advanced technologies in artificial intelligence and smart cars. Previously, Toyota showed a concept that can sense your emotion, and Daimler AG displayed an electric van with a drone on top that automatically fetches and delivers packages.
Japanese automobile manufacturing company spent about JPY 490 billion ($4.4 billion or roughly Rs. 27,900 crores), or 4.2 percent of its revenue, on research and development in the fiscal year 2016, is more aggressive than Toyota and Honda in drawing up timelines for autonomous vehicles. Nissan is eyeing on to allow cars to change lanes on highways autonomously this year and to navigate city roads and intersections without human interference till 2020.